By B. Vranian
YEREVAN–Talented French star Patrick Fiori joined Armenian diva Nune Yesayan on stage at the Hamaleer Stadium last weekend for an unforgettable concert melding French and Armenian cultures. Nearly eight thousand fans attended the sold-out show–buying tickets weeks in advance.
"This was Patrick’s first concert in his ancestral homeland," says Nune. "He felt very welcomed–very connected–and he wants to come back again." The 34-year-old Fiori was born in Marseille to an Armenian father and Corsican mother. He made a name for himself by performing with the opera at the age of 13 and winning a television talent show in his late teens.
"One of his most popular songs all over Europe is ‘Belle’ from the musical ‘Notre-Dame de Paris," says Nune. "Patrick recorded the CD–and it became a hit. He also sang on the French soundtracks of ‘Mulan’ and ‘The Prince of Egypt.’"
Nune and Fiori performed ‘Belle’ during the concert as a duet–and it was received with grand applause. "He then started singing–Nune–Nune," says Nune–"and we ended the concert singing together. It was a lot of fun for me and the audience–too."
Fiori’s debut in Yerevan was made possible by Nune–who is no stranger to creating flawless stage shows and garnering international media attention for her concerts in Yerevan and the Armenian diaspora.
After Nune’s spectacular 700-person stage musical in 2002–which was featured on the CNN World Report–the singer took her show on the road with performances in the US and Canada. Her concert at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood won Nune accolades from the legendary New York Times.
"My friends and I are always amazed that an Armenian singer from Yerevan is written about in papers like the New York Times and the Boston Globe," says Nune–"especially when local media seldom writes about our work in Yerevan." But accolades are not the reason she pushes on; sharing her voice–her music–and her blessings is what motivates Nune.
"Patrick and I decided to have this concert to help promote the charity Province Armenie," says Nune. "The charity will help create sporting and athletic programs for young people–and there are plans to build a sports complex." Nune has been named the local chairwoman of the charity–and she is helping the charity reach its goals.
During the concert at the Hamaleer–Nune performed songs from her latest CD–titled ‘Me.’ The album surprised many with Nune’s new look and her new sound. "My music is taking a new direction," says Nune. "I called the album ‘Me,’ because the tone–the lyrics–and music of the songs are closer to my heart. There is more to me–to us–than folk music."
Most of the songs on the new album are original songs written by contemporary Armenian musicians. "I recorded these songs because I want to share this new sound of Armenia with my fans all over the world," says Nune. "I want the Armenian Diaspora to know there is a whole new generation of young Armenian lyricists and musicians creating new songs and new music."
One of Nune’s new songs is about hope–but tragically it was written by a young man–who died before hearing Nune sing the song he had written for her. "His family told me that he was happy that I was going to record his song," says Nune. "But there are so many other artists in Armenia who are struggling. There is hope–though–when we can record their songs and pay them for their talents."
Nune’s future plans include producing new music videos for her yet-to-be-released international album–which features songs in Russian–French and English. Nune is also planning a concert tour of Europe and North America next year.